A private collector has spent the last week singing the praises of the tabloid press for drawing attention to a photo album of pictures taken in Denmark at the end of the Second World War, which he sold at auction on April 30 for six times the original estimate.
The most controversial of the photos are graphic images of a Danish woman stripped naked and daubed in swastikas for sleeping with a German. They were taken in Copenhagen exactly 69 years ago – on May 5 on Liberation Day.
Ahead of the sale, C&T Auctioneers in Rochester, England gave the 112-photo collection an estimate of £650-850, but in the end they fetched £3,650 – in excess of 33,000 kroner.
A story in mid-April in an English tabloid, the Daily Mail, attracted widespread attention in the build-up to the auction, and there was also extensive coverage in Danish daily Ekstra Bladet.
Death penalty for some
The naked Danish woman was one of many accused of sleeping with Germans during the 1940-45 Occupation. Other photos depict British paratroopers being cheered through the streets of Copenhagen and Danish stikker (moles) being taken away in custody.
Some 40,000 people were arrested on suspicion of collaboration on Liberation Day and the days following. Of those, 13,500 were punished and 46 executed after the Danish government rushed through a decision to revoke its abolishment of the death penalty in 1930.